Dimple B Shah
After having tasted democracy for a short time, the people of Myanmar have once again been forced to live under a brutal military dictatorship. In February 2021 the Military staged a coup, overthrowing the civilian government who had won the previous year’s election.
This artwork portrays how Myanmar people have been living together since the Coup. The light in the middle of the painting represents the short period of democracy before the coup while the darkness from both sides represents the encroaching pressure resulting from the military’s violent hunger for power at all costs.
Already a poor country, the political repression following the Coup has had a disastrous knock-on effect for the economy and the health sector that appears to be getting worse each day. The figures in the middle of the painting, their masks protecting them from both the pandemic and from being identified in the midst of street protests and active resistance, represent the complex role of the Burmese people at this time, as both victims and fighters.
Wherever there is the ugliness of repression, there is also the beauty of resistance. The figures on the sides of painting are depicted in traditional Myanmar dress while also subtly showing the 3 finger salute of revolution that has become common currency among activists globally.